CONSENSUS BUILDING FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS

Posted: 6/15/2015

Community Association Board Members and Managers are responsible for carrying out businesses that protect millions of dollars worth of real estate. Daily problems arise that range in magnitude and importance, but all require sound business judgment to resolve. Many times, what is also required is the cooperation or consensus of Association residents comprised of different interests, values and personalities. Their cooperation can mean the difference between solving a problem on paper and actually solving it. It is virtually impossible to solve big or complex problems without having adverse effects on at least some interests. Consequently, almost any big or complex problem will not get unanimous support.

Consensus does not mean that every household must enthusiastically and totally support every aspect associated with a particular course of action that the Board decides it might pursue. It does not mean that the decision is supported (sometimes reluctantly so) because everyone believes that the action is, overall, in the best interest of all homeowners - because it addresses, to some extent, the majority of needs.

In summary, the key to preventing conflict, and even generating support, over a course of action depends upon the following areas of accomplishment:

Responsibility: homeowners must believe that the Board is acting totally within their proper powers and responsibilities and that it is being reasonable and fair in the course of action that is being proposed.

Responsiveness: homeowners must believe that the proposed course of action corresponds, as much as absolutely possible, to their values and interests and that any trade offs that occur are equitable and fair.

Effectiveness: homeowners must believe that there is an effective two-way communication between them and the Board and Association Manager, and that there is a strong desire to listen and compromise.